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ANC to oppose Magashule’s court application

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Ace Magashule has approached the court to challenge not only his suspension but the ANC’s step-aside resolution.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

ANC PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa and deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte took a decision last week to oppose suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule’s court application, according to papers addressed to the Johannesburg High Court’s Gauteng Division.

In court papers signed and dated on Friday last week on behalf of Ramaphosa, Duarte and the ANC stated: “Be please to take notice (sic) that the first, second and third respondents intend to oppose the application and hereby enter its appearance to oppose.” The papers were also addressed to Eric Mabuza, of Mabuza Attorneys, who is representing Magashule.

Magashule has approached the court to challenge not only his suspension but the ANC’s step aside resolution.

According to court papers, the matter will be heard on June 1, 2021.

In his application, Magashule wants the court to rule that: “The ANC step aside rule 25.70 of the ANC constitution (is) unlawful, unconstitutional, invalid and null. The suspension letter issued by ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte suspending him to be null/void, the suspension by Magashule to be valid and effective until lawfully nullified and the instruction announced by Ramaphosa and the ANC for Magashule to apologise for issuing the suspension letter to Ramaphosa to be unlawful.”

It was not immediately clear how the decision to oppose Magashule’s application had been taken, since no such position was communicated in the resolutions of the latest national executive committee (NEC) meeting, which were published on Monday last week.

No meeting of the national working committee is known to have been held since that NEC.

However, a source familiar with the ANC processes told Independent Media that the party would pretend that the decision to oppose would only be taken on Monday at the meeting of the “Top 5”.

“The question is who took the decision on Friday without the meeting of any structure?” said the source.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe’s cellphone was off and he could not be reached by the time of publication. He had also not responded to questions via WhatsApp.

Meanwhile, a political analyst said the step aside resolution would affect the ANC’s support in the local government elections on October 27.

Political analyst Protas Madlala said the step aside resolution should have started with former president Jacob Zuma, who had allegedly been implicated in a number of corrupt activities.

“If they don’t resolve the tensions within the party soon, the numbers will certainly drop at the polls. This is already evident.

“The ANC is in a deep mess morally, in terms of its brand. Most of its leaders have been implicated in serious criminal offences.

“I think they were attempting to do damage control with this step-aside resolution, but it’s not an easy thing. You can ask someone to step aside, but we also know that the criminal justice system in this country can take up to 10 years to conclude a matter.

“They had to be seen as doing something with all the big names. Things should have started with former president Jacob Zuma, who has been facing criminal charges for more than 10 years. I find it strange that they are skipping Zuma in terms of a step-aside. Why don’t they start with him?”

Madlala said the ANC, as the ruling party, should have strengthened the justice system and started acting sooner against those implicated in criminal activity.